Non medical prescribing in Scotland: implementation guide

Implementation guidance for nurse independent prescribers and for community practitioner nurse prescribers in Scotland.

Appendix 6: Role of the pharmacist - advice on medicines

1. Pharmacists are a useful source of help and advice to any prescriber, particularly on matters of pharmacology, drug usage and product selection. They will also know the costs, availability and pack sizes of prescribed items.

2. To enable pharmacists to check whether a nurse prescription handed in for dispensing is bona fide, all NHSScotland employers should keep a list of all nurse prescribers employed by them and the terms by which the nurse can prescribe. It is also recommended that a copy of the nurse's or midwife's signature is held by the employing authority and individuals should be prepared to provide specimen signatures to pharmacists, should that be required.

3. Community pharmacists will expect to see primary care nurse prescriptions on a GP10N; hospital-based nurse prescriptions on an HBPN. Nurses must not use other types of prescription form.

4. Nurse or midwife prescribers should be aware that pharmacists have legal and ethical obligations which mean they may need to contact prescribers - sometimes urgently - to confirm an aspect of the prescription, return it for amendment or even to refrain from dispensing it (for example if the prescription appears unsafe, inappropriate, or contains items which a nurse is not permitted to prescribe). An up-to-date contact telephone number should be included (in the address box) on all prescriptions.

Verification of prescribing status

1. The dispensing pharmacist will need to be sure that the prescriber has qualified as a nurse prescriber.

2. The prescription form will indicate the category of nurse prescriber (see paragraphs 28 - 31). The dispensing pharmacist will, of course, need to use her/his professional judgement, as for doctor's prescriptions, to assess whether a prescription is appropriate for a particular patient.

3. In the case of nurses, most enquiries from dispensing pharmacists will be resolved by telephoning the prescriber, or the prescriber's employer (see above).

4. Anyone can check the prescribing status of a nurse by accessing the NMC website and searching the Register. This can be done by simply entering a name and/or NMC registration number and will confirm if someone has live registration and what type of prescriber they are.

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